After nine months of following one rule after the other, a new mother hopes that now that the baby is here, the rules are over and she doesn't have to feel like she is living under a microscope with people judging her every move. Unfortunately, the rules escalate once the baby actually arrives with the looming threat that social services may take the baby away if they are broken.
That scare notwithstanding, a new mother has a lot of obligations where the newborn is concerned and it is rare to find a mother who does not have the best intentions for the baby. Mother bonds with her unborn child to an extent that even the slightest upset the baby experiences becomes a physical pain for the mother.
Most mothers choose to breastfeed to nourish the baby, a trend that is highly commendable and which comes with benefits like increased immunity, a higher capacity to withstand stress and studies now show that a breastfed baby even comes with a higher IQ.
Breastfeeding should ideally be practiced exclusively for at least six months. This is not as easy as we are led to believe though and it comes with its own set of things that moms are still surprised they can’t do while breastfeeding.
20 Skipping Nighttime Feedings
A tired mother prays fervently that the baby sleeps through the night and this is now the most popular topic in any Facebook nursing mom group with mothers bragging about their baby's ability to sleep through the night.
While this is every mother's dream, what these mothers should know is that sleeping through the night does not mean the baby sleeps for twelve uninterrupted hours without a feeding.
A new baby needs to be fed at least once every two hours and the mother should be worried if the baby sleeps for long without requiring to be fed. Moms need to also remember that breastfeeding is a game of demand and supply. The more you skip feeding, the less the body will produce and the less the baby has to feed on.
19 Using Soap On The Girls
Hygiene is something that is most commendable and new mothers especially are instructed to ensure that they observe utmost hygiene when breastfeeding. Daily baths once or twice will keep infections at bay, but moms are advised not to overdo it and not to clean the girls using soap.
This is because soap comes with harsh chemicals that dry them up, leading to cracking, which can be really painful. It can also lead to engorgement and mastitis.
To keep the girls clean, a mother should just use warm water to thoroughly clean sweat and any bacteria from the breast.
18 Getting Back On Birth Control
Labor is enough to put anyone off the childbearing business and most mothers want to get on the strongest and time-tested birth control medication the minute the baby is out. Breastfeeding mothers should never get on an estrogen based birth control medication as this is bound to lower her milk supply.
For those breastfeeding, it is recommended to use progestin-based birth control. Most breastfeeding mothers are told that the chances of getting pregnant while breastfeeding is slim. While there may be some truth to this, the number of women who get pregnant while breastfeeding is large enough to be worrying about making breastfeeding alone an unreliable birth control method.
17 Drinking The Mommy Juice
It’s a Monday and the new mother has fed the baby 29 times and counting. She is so worn out and she is pretty sure that it is five o’clock somewhere.
That bottle of wine seems to be calling out to her and considering how tired, stressed and completely harassed she feels, she would be forgiven for downing that bottle of wine while the baby sleeps right? Wrong.
Alcohol goes through the blood and into the breast milk. Which means while you are busy drinking that bottle of wine and breastfeeding, your baby is getting alcohol laced breast milk that may cause some health problems for the baby.
16 Saying Yes To The Pacifier
Pacifiers are a Godsend for most of us. They save us from some of those infant tantrums that most of us are not equipped to handle. Do not give the baby the pacifier too early as doing this leads to nipple confusion, mainly because the baby sucks on the pacifier in a different way than he does the breast.
According to Today's Parent, “Ideally, babies born at term should have established breastfeeding before you offer them a pacifier.”
This rule is not cast in stone but just to be safe, it is advisable to follow it for the sake of the baby.
15 Supplementing Your Supply With Formula
Most of us do not know that this rule exists and often times, we tend to ignore the rule, often to the regrettable outcome. According to The Health Site, supplementing can affect a mother’s milk production,
“Remember not all mothers might produce milk adequately during the initial days. What she might produce is colostrum, which is important for the baby’s growth and development and it is essential for the baby to have this milk. The more the baby breastfeeds, the more milk will be produced by the milk glands.”
If mom supplements too early, it is a signal to the girls to produce less milk as remember, they follow the rule of demand and supply.
14 Taking Prescription Medication
These days, getting any prescription after self-diagnosing is rampant. After pregnancy, a mother’s immunity is lowered and she is susceptible to a lot of illnesses like the flu, as well as colds. A new mother is also likely to get headaches due to the hassles that come with being a new mother.
Popping a prescription to cure some of these illnesses is not advisable while breastfeeding as over the counter medication may interfere with milk production, something the new mother does not want to happen.
According to Mayo Clinic, any medication a mother takes goes straight into the breast milk and breastfeeding mothers are advised to consult a medical practitioner before popping prescriptions.
13 Sticking To Feeding ‘Schedules’
Lactation experts advise that a new mother should feed on demand as this stimulates milk production. There are mothers who believe in a feeding schedule, be it once after every two hours or three in the course of the day. What these mothers do not realize is that this contributes to the decline in the milk supply.
The breasts should be emptied by feeding a baby ten to twelve times a day, “To ensure proper breast milk supply, feeding at least 10 to 12 times a day, during the first few weeks after birth is essential. Frequent feeding will help in improving breast milk supply.”
12 Geting Stressed
A new mother is overworked, tired and anxious and it takes a lot just to get through the day. Breastfeeding is a magical gift of nature that comes with calming and soothing effects on the new mother, as well as the baby. This ability can be hindered by postpartum depression.
Depression and stress raise the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body and this can lead to low levels of breast milk. To avoid lowering the breast milk supply, which a baby really needs, it is imperative that the new mother tries to stay calm and avoid stressful situations.
11 Ignoring Your Own Health
Pregnancy can sometimes take a toll on a woman’s body and some women come out of it with a myriad of health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and thyroid problems.
For those who developed these illnesses in the course of their pregnancy, it is advisable to seek a doctor’s help as these conditions may prove to be fatal.
The health conditions may also affect the breast milk supply. Even with the busy schedules that a new baby brings in the family. It is important that the new mother remembers to take care of her health even as she takes care of the rest of her family members.
10 Indulging In Herbal Remedies
Each of us has a great aunt or a friend who swears by some herb or the other that is perfect in raising a woman’s breast milk levels. There is this or that wonder herb that most mothers swear by, but before consuming certain herbs, a mother needs to be cautious.
Herbs like pudina, salvia and Ayurvedic concoctions that some mothers consume to improve their health and even some that supposedly raise the milk supply can actually lower the supply of breast milk. Before consuming any of those concoctions, breastfeeding mothers are advised to speak to their doctors.
9 Loading Up On Coffee
After a long day of feeding the baby, changing diapers, soothing the baby and a repeat of the same, a mother needs a cup of coffee. Taking a cup of coffee is not completely wrong but a mom’s intake of coffee should be reduced.
Excessive intake of caffeine is likely to affect the supply of breast milk and even though we console ourselves that one more won't hurt, that one extra cup of coffee may be the one that keeps the baby awake and cranky because the milk supply is low and he does not have enough and the cycle of fatigue continues.
8 Trying To Shed The Pounds
These days, a new mother is bombarded by image after image of a celebrity mom who perfected the art of bounce back before the baby could even get out of the body. With this kind of pressure, it is not uncommon to find a breastfeeding mother who goes on a detox diet to try and shed those pounds.
As commendable as it is to try and lose weight and stay healthy, moms are advised to lose the weight in a healthy way. Any diet a mother indulges in and that leads to losing weight too quickly may affect the breastfeeding baby as well as reduce her milk supply.
7 Eating Whatever You Want
Pregnancy brings with it an aversion to certain foods, some of which may have been our favorites before. Most of us look forward to the end of pregnancy so that we can indulge in all those meals we could not while pregnant. While this may be possible up to a point, breastfeeding brings with it, its own list of no-eat foods.
According to Mommy Edition, a breastfeeding mother is advised to avoid gassy foods like cabbage and beans, as well as any irritating foods like kiwi and citrus fruits. If a mother eats gassy food, this affects the baby too, making him fussy due to gas accumulation in his tummy.
6 Ignoring Possible Allergens
What a breastfeeding mother eats goes straight to the baby and can affect him. Moms are advised to be on the lookout for signs that what they eat is affecting their baby. Be it through rashes, hives, congestion, wheezing or fussiness.
These conditions are most often than not as a result of moms diet and are quite common, especially if mom’s family has a history of allergies. Mothers are advised to try certain foods that are possible allergens with care to see exactly which foods affect their child. Once the allergen has been identified, the mother is advised to eliminate it from her diet.
5 Forgetting To Quench Your Thirst
A breastfeeding mother has to stay hydrated at all times as the largest percentage of breast milk is made up of water.
A mother who ignores her own hydration interferes with her babies hydration, which can be quite dangerous. Most of us do not like water and even downing a glass of water a day sometimes is difficult.
If a mother is one of these, they are advised to keep water at hand and to take a sip throughout the day. When a mother is down with an illness that does not allow her to keep water down, it is advisable to see the doctor.
4 Just One More
At the expense of sounding judgmental, we have to emphasize that smoking is harmful to anyone’s health and this is an unsavory habit that anyone --whether a mother or not-- should ditch. Smoking is harmful to a pregnant mother as well as a new baby.
A breastfeeding mother who smokes exposes the baby to toxins and raises the risk of the child developing pneumonia, colic, asthma and even SIDs.
According to Kelly Mom, it has been established that mothers who smoke heavily cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and cramping in babies because nicotine permeates into the breast milk. For the sake of the newborn, mothers are advised to kick the habit or at least smoke away from the child.
3 Breastfeeding In Bed
We appreciate that mothers are usually very tired at the end of the day and the thought of having to leave the bed and sit up as we feed the baby is as unappealing as climbing Mount Everest. This tired mother sometimes decides to take the baby to bed with her and breastfeed as she lies down. This is a bad idea.
Breastfeeding tends to make a mother sleepy, which is nature’s way of ensuring she gets sufficient sleep. Breastfeeding while in bed can be risky as a tired mother can easily smother the child. However tired mom is, it is advisable to sit up, as in this position, even if she dozes off, the baby is safe.
2 Skipping The Hand Wash
Hand washing is rule number one in the baby hygiene manual. Germs are not visible and no one should assume that they are clean just because they cannot see the dirt. Mothers should wash their hands after every diaper change, before handling the baby and even before handling any of the baby’s utensils.
Infections like colds and diarrhea are transmitted by germs that come from unexpected areas. Visitors to the home and anyone coming into contact with the child should remember to wash their hands. Even though telling a stranger to sanitize their hands before handling the baby can sound standoffish, it should not be reason enough not to insist on it.
1 Not Getting Enough Rest
Not getting enough rest should never be a mistake that a new mother makes. A tired mother is risky to the child as well as herself. Sleep deprivation and fatigue can prove fatal and a new mother should learn to find ways to rest.
New mothers are advised to sleep when the baby sleeps and to try as much as possible to find ways to get some rest in the course of the day. This will help the mother recuperate faster from childbirth and ensure that she has enough energy to feed and take care of the baby.
References: Todaysparent, Mommyedition, Thehealthsite, Mayoclinic, Kellymom